Canyon Lake-Crown Jewel of the Texas Hill Country

For many, Canyon Lake in Texas is seen as the “Crown Jewel” of Texas Hill Country. Its excellent location on the Guadalupe River, makes it one of the best places in Texas to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. There is abundant wildlife at Canyon Lake, including foxes, roadrunners and plenty of white-tail deer, although there is lots more where that came from. There is plenty of outdoor recreation along Canyon Lake, including hiking and running trails and eight park areas where people can camp or enjoy a nice picnic. Equestrian trails are available, as is limited hunting and professional fishing guide services. Hunting is “archery only,” so consider yourself warned.

As great as the wildlife is, however, for the most part, Canyon Lake is known for water recreation. Bank fishing is available in all of the parks, but that’s only the beginning. Often referred to as “The Water Recreation Capital of Texas,” there is a lot of fishing available in all park areas and a fishing dock on the south side of the lake, at Cranes Mill Park, there are also a number of public boat ramps available to provide access to the lake.

One of the most popular features of Canyon Lake in Texas is the Canyon Lake Gorge. The gorge is very popular among hikers and nature lovers, but to say it is a challenging hike is a bit of an understatement. In fact, the Canyon Lake Gorge is only open to the public through a guided tour. The tours run three hours each and are led by trained volunteers who have been certified by the Gorge Preservation Society Guide. They are assisted by fully trained docents.

Because the tours can be physically demanding, they are only available to ages seven and up, and they have a strict policy regarding hikers under 20, with a certain number of chaperones required for each. They recommend that people with heart conditions, bad knees or ankles or who are in poor physical health stay away. They require all hikers to be equipped with good walking shoes and bottled water and they encourage the use of backpacks to keep the hands free.

Of course, most people who travel to Canyon Lake in Texas go for the lake. Canyon Lake is located almost exactly between Austin and San Antonio and it is located just minutes from several other Texas cities, including New Braunfels, Gruene, San Marcos, Bulverde, and Spring Branch. Canyon Lake covers more than 8,200 acres and features more than 80 miles of shoreline.

One of the favorite spots along the shoreline is Overlook Park, considered by many in San Antonio and Austin to be one of the best swimming spots anywhere. The name comes from its spectacular views of Canyon Lake. There are plenty of views and there is some hiking available, primarily the walk across Canyon Dam, which is a 1.5-mile rount-trip hike that provides a view of the lake on one side and the valley on the other. There is actually plenty of room for hikers, joggers, runners and even cyclists, but there are also plenty of places to do some rock climbing, bouldering and the like.

Canyon Lake has several marinas, run by Suntex. The two largest are the Canyon Lake Marina and the Cranes Mill Marina. Both marinas feature plenty of wet slips, outdoor dry storage, ship stores, featuring anything a boater might need, from swimsuits and flip-flops to sunscreen and sunglasses, as well as snacks, drinks and beer and wine and the coolers to put them in. They also carry tubes, life vests and a complete line of boating accessories.

Each marina also has a fuel dock and a comprehensive service center. They also rent boats and the Canyon Lake Marina features a full-service restaurant. Put simply, the marinas on Canyon Lake offer far more than a place to keep your boat.

There is plenty of space on Canyon Lake in Texas, so whether you’re into canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding or just fishing from the shore or a boat, there is plenty of room for everyone.

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